By Christy Kim, Redfin real estate agent in Seattle
If you’ve been doing the math on renting versus owning, you may realize that now is a good time to consider buying a condo or house in many cities. Among the largest U.S. markets, Seattle saw the biggest increase in rents in 2013. Rents rose 7.1 percent from the year before, as compared with the national average, which rose only 3.2 percent over the same time period, according to the Associated Press.
In Ballard, which was named the hottest neighborhood in Seattle by Seattle Met magazine, buying a condo may make sense. A condo purchase means a fixed monthly mortgage payment, rather than constant worry about potential rent increases.
Many buyers decide to purchase a condo because they see rents rising and realize that buying a condo is a smarter investment, particularly in the long run. The monthly costs of renting and owning can be quite comparable. For instance, at Solo Lofts, a condo building that is breaking ground soon in downtown Ballard and is listed by Redfin, units start at $249,000. Depending on a buyer’s down payment, it may even be more affordable to purchase than to rent.
And at just 20 units, Solo Lofts is a boutique community in comparison with the larger apartment buildings in the neighborhood.
Historically, condos in Ballard have had solid long-term appreciation. Over the past 15 years, condos in the neighborhood have appreciated at an annual rate of 5.62 percent, which is identical to the rate of appreciation for single-family homes in the area. Condos in Ballard are also currently 7 percent cheaper per square foot than single-family homes in the neighborhood, according to Redfin data.
But it’s not just about the money. Owning a condo has other lifestyle benefits. While apartment complexes have transient residents frequently moving in and out, condo owners are more likely to invest in building a community. Apartments are managed by corporate entities or a landlord, while condo buildings are managed by the homeowners association. And if you’re a pet lover, consider that some rental properties have pet fees and breed restrictions. In a condo community, pets are family, too.
If you want to learn more about condos, or the buying and selling process, check the Redfin event schedule for upcoming classes in your area.
About Christy Kim, Redfin
With more than eight years in real estate, I understand that building relationships and listening are the key aspects of my job. I educate my clients so that they become empowered buyers and make good decisions, and ultimately get into their dream house! My commitment to you is exceptional customer service, continuous communication and to accept all challenges as an opportunity to provide the smoothest transaction. As an investor, I bring unique perspective to all real estate transactions and knack for finding great deals. Whether you are looking for your first home or an investment property, I can help!